“Please Marry Before I Die”

Easter weekend, April 1986

I went home to spend Easter weekend with my parents. Mom was lying in bed because she was so weak from the chemo for her lymphoma. We were enjoying watching an old movie together on TV when all of a sudden her teeth began chattering, and she asked me to get her more blankets. I felt her forehead, and it was burning hot. I put the thermometer in her mouth, and it registered 104 degrees. I knew this was an emergency and called her oncologist. He said to call the ambulance and get her to the hospital at once. The ambulance quickly arrived, and I rode up front while my Dad followed in his car. They admitted Mom directly to the oncology floor, checked her blood and urine, and then started an IV to give her fluids and antibiotics.

Her white blood count (WBC) had dropped dangerously low to 400. Normal is 4500-10,000. The white blood cells are like the body’s soldiers which destroy any bacteria causing infection. Because Mom’s WBC’s were so low, she couldn’t fight the serious infection in her blood. A low WBC is a common side effect of chemotherapy because it destroys the healthy blood cells as well as the cancer. The next 24 hours would be critical.

By Sunday, Mom’s fever had broken and her WBC’s were starting to come up. After attending church Easter morning, we visited Mom who had been placed in isolation. My brother announced that he and his girlfriend had decided to get married. Mom congratulated him, and then said to me, “Pam, I want you to get married before I die,” and our tears flowed again. I was so exhausted from the entire weekend that I couldn’t answer her a word. I hugged Mom goodbye and drove home the 100 miles so I could return to work Monday morning.

Mom wanted me to marry before she died.

On Tuesday evening, my sister called me after she spoke with Mom who started crying again because she wants to see me happily married. Marsha explained to Mom that it was much better to be single than married to the wrong person. After I asked the Lord for wisdom, I decided to write Mom a letter.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Dear Mom,

I’m happy my brother is getting married, but please don’t be sad because I’m not married. The Lord is in control and knows what is best for me. If He wants me married, He will bring along the right man at the right time. If He chooses to leave me single, He will continue to supply my every need as He has in the past. When I feel lonely, I ask God to comfort me, and He always does. God is far more concerned about these things than you or I, so I must leave it in His hands. I have seen what happens when people scheme to “get” a husband, and it always ends in disaster.

Some of the most beautiful godly marriages I have seen have been between older Christians. George and Letty Black were 38 years old when they met and married on the mission field. These lessons have not been easy for me to learn over the years as I’ve watched all my friends marry one by one. I love Him most of all and simply want to do His will above all else and walk by faith.

I continue to hold you up in prayer. Keep eating. May God strengthen you and give you understanding of His wonderful way.

Much Love in Christ, Pam

I hold the trip to China with an open hand. I’m willing to go or willing to stay. God’s will be done. Mom told me she still wants me to go to China so I can tell her all about it when I return.

For any parents that may be reading this, I beg you not to put pressure on your children to get married or make them feel like a failure if they aren’t married. Encourage them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, because our relationship with Jesus Christ is the only one that lasts for all eternity. Marriage is only for our days here on earth. May we all seek to glorify God, whether we are single or married.

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